Choosing an apt analytics application

Hasty choices of web analytics tools can get businesses in difficult situations. Here’s a quick checklist of what aspects need to be considered.

Choosing a web analytics application is an entirely different ball game as compared to just reading upon what it is and how it works. It’s important that the choice made is an informed one and the decision-making process involves adequate amounts of research.

A quick checklist would include details like:

Business/technical constraints

  • What are your company’s Key Performance Indicators?
  • Which one does your company have – IT resources, business resources, or both?
  • What is the budget available?
  • Is your website static?
  • Do you have flash-only pages?
  • Will the company’s firewall allow hosted server scripts?
  • Can the website serve first party cookies?

Business requirements to be fulfilled:

  • What exactly do you need to measure?
  • Do you require analysis or reports?
  • Does your company require clickstream reports and analysis or does it require and in-depth quantitative as well as qualitative analysis?
  • What is the company’s budget allocated for analytics? What kind of ROI is expected from the investment?
  • Which one would you prefer – hosting the solutions internally or externally?
  • Which would you prefer – Real-time VS Delayed time for reporting?

The technicalities of the application must be examined and dealt with. These questions need to provide information about the applications themselves and give you a better idea of whether it meets your requirements or not.

Features of the tool/software

  • What are the features?
  • What data capture mechanisms are used?
  • What is the total cost of ownership for the tool?
  • What laws and regulations of data collection are followed by the service provider?
  • What language is the documentation and support provided in?
  • How do the present and future costs of using the application compare?
  • A brief history of the provider to ascertain functionality in the long run
  • Description of the Service Level Agreement
  • How is the data ownership issue dealt with?

Value addition from provider

  • What is the difference between the offered solution and free tools available in the market?
  • What kind of support do you offer? How much is free?
  • What are the options available to export data to company systems?
  • Is it possible to integrate data from external sources with the tool?
  • What additions/innovations are expected to be implemented in the application in the next couple of years?

It is a great idea to test out the application before deciding to purchase it.

Getting answers to the questions suggested above will ensure that you’re armed with a good deal of information to be able to make a wise choice. The critical thing to remember is that there is no one-size-fits-all type of solution when it comes to web analytics. Your business needs are unique and the application and service provider that recognizes and fulfils those requirements is your best option.

This article was first published in yourstory.in

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